Doha: (NHRC: 14/4/2010): His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Smaikh al-Marri, NHRC chairman held a press conference this afternoon in which he reviewed the activities of the First Gulf Forum of human rights institutions which is to be held at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel 20-21 April under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani – Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. The forum is organized by the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in collaboration with the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Centre for training and documentation in the field of human rights for South West Asia and the Arab region.
H.E. outlined the aim of the Forum – Promotion and protection of human rights: challenges, achievements, and aspirations, adding that the Forum will focus on supporting human rights institutions that were created in the region and urge their creation in States that have not done that so far; In this regard he referred to the NHRC as being one among a small number of national institutions in the Arab region, that were classified as Group A by United Nation’s Commission on International Coordination, and that it was found to be in complete conformity in this regard with the qualifying criteria outlined in by Paris Principles charter.
H.E. Dr al-Marri said the first meeting of the forum aimed at bringing together the national human rights institutions in Gulf States would be held in Doha next Tuesday.
Among the proposed recommendations is the launch of a GCC-wide network of human rights institutions.
“The proposed network will seek to co-operate with the international human rights bodies to dispel the wrong perceptions about the region’s record in human rights,” Dr al-Marri elaborated.
The forum will be attended by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, among other dignitaries, and rights activists from the Arab world.
Participating delegates would look into ways to promote the role of the human rights institutions and protect human rights in the region.
H.E. Indicated that the meeting aims to encourage Gulf States that are yet to establish human rights bodies, as enshrined in the Paris Principles list of responsibilities.
“As Qatar was the first Gulf state to set up the first human rights institution, we believe that we can help other states to follow suit,” he added. Qatar set up a national human rights institution in 2002. Last year Oman and Bahrain established their own human rights bodies.
Although, in the course of answering reporters’ questions, he denied that the forum will discuss specific human rights issues that are common to the GCC region, including women’s rights or expatriate workforce, Dr. al-Marry said that the delegates would be encouraged to give presentations on how they tackle human rights issues that they have faced